Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Weisure Time

Richard Barron doesn't have a mean bone in his body.

This morning, he's amazingly lucky to have all of his bones still in his body, rather than broken and scattered all over I-95 outside Boston.

Barron, the former Princeton women's basketball coach, is now the head coach of the women's team at Maine. The Black Bears were traveling to Boston to take on Boston University when, according to reports, the bus driver had some sort of medical episode and passed out.

The bus was in the center lane going south on 95, and without the driver, it veered to its left, crossing one more lane on the southbound side and then the median and then the northbound lanes before smashing into some trees off the highway.

Somehow, the bus did all this lane crossing without ever hitting another vehicle. This has to be considered somewhat miraculous.

The driver was the most seriously injured. Barron, whose wife Maureen coached the Princeton softball team when they were here, apparently tried to grab the wheel when the driver passed out and had some bad cuts on his face when he fell.

College athletic teams spend hours and hours and hours and drive tens of thousands of miles on the highways around the country. In the winter, teams in the Northeast and the Midwest have to negotiate snow, ice, wet roads and all the elements of this time of year.

On top of that, they do this often at night - in the early morning hours, actually - returning to campuses or heading to the next game site. 

With all that, it really is amazing that this doesn't happen way more often - with way more tragic outcomes.

Anyway, TB hopes the driver is okay and is glad that Barron and the rest of the Black Bears seem to have come through with only minor injuries.

TigerBlog heard the news on the way back from New York City, where he spoke last night at a class on athletic administration at NYU.

TB did last year as well, and he must have been okay at it, he assumes, since he was asked back this year.

The professor is Connie Zotos, who spent 12 years at Drew University, a Division III school in North Jersey.

Her classroom was at 42nd and 5th, and TB didn't realize there were NYU classrooms that far uptown.

Here's something else TB can't figure out. How in the world do people put up with going into and out of New York City everyday? Or getting around town? It is definitely not for the weak, that's for sure.

The group that TB spoke to this year consisted of 32 grad students and five undergrads, which made for a large group up on the fourth floor. The class ran from 6:20 to 8:50, and just like last year, the time flew by.

Actually, it was as educational for TB as it was - hopefully - for the students.

For one thing, the evening served as a reminder of just how much athletic communications has evolved in TB's time here.

And for another, it was fascinating to see the number of questions the students asked and what the subjects of those questions were.

There seemed to be a genuine interest in how athletics in the Ivy League and at Princeton worked and how different the Princeton model is from, say, the BCS model.

Without question, the subject that the students were most interested in was social media.

Does Princeton has a censorship policy? What does Princeton tell its athletes and coaches about social media? Does Princeton encourage or discourage it?

TigerBlog talked about how Twitter has changed the way Princeton can get updated in-game scores to people who are interested in them, but also how that ability and Princeton's commitment to equality across its programs means that the OAC staff members spend a lot of time tweeting updates of events that they are not at, mostly during what would be considered non-work time.

TB saw this phenomenon referred to someplace as "weisure time," as the line between work time and leisure time gets blurred.

Not that long ago - and by not that long, TB means last year - the OAC track and field contact would have waited until Heps ended Sunday to write a story about it. This year, especially because the meet was so close, there were Twitter updates all day Sunday, and those updates kept up with the drama of the moment.

Of course, that meant someone had to do it all afternoon Sunday. Weisure time.

The group featured former college athletes - a man who played soccer at North Carolina State, a woman who played soccer at Southern Cal, among others - and non-athletes. They asked TB about student-athlete experience, about the integration of athletes on campus, about the faculty fellows.

TB ended the night by telling them that they need to understand the changing workplace that they soon will be part of, how TB can do almost all of his job simply with his iPhone, how their office isn't necessarily the place they'll spend most of their work hours.

Mostly, he told them to make sure they stay relevant, that it's on them to make sure their jobs evolve with the times.

Just like it's on the people who work here.

The ride back after the class was relatively simple, with no traffic and only some rain to contend with on the drive. And then the news that Maine's women's basketball team had been involved in the bus crash, which immediately led to thoughts of Richard Barron.

Hopefully all of the people involved will be all right.

And hopefully the students from last night learned something, or at least as much as they taught the teacher.

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